Famous for its industrial district of red brick factory buildings and the Harlem Rail Yards, Port Morris is riding a new wave of development.

In 2005 an 11-block “mixed use,” or commercial and residential, district was established, adding to a separate one that was designated in 1997. The revival has brought converted lofts, affordable apartments and gourmet restaurants, particularly on Bruckner Boulevard, to an area once defined by its industrial nature.

Port Morris, otherwise known as SoBro, is anchored to be the next Red Hook, luring new residents with its luscious waterfront views and its ease of connectivity to Manhattan and the outer boroughs.

It’s located at the southernmost tip of The Bronx, where Harlem and the East Rivers separate it from Manhattan. The nabe is a vital thoroughfare, connected to four bridges along with the Major Deegan and Bruckner Expressways bordering it to the north.

Port Morris was established as a seaport in 1842, according to the Historic District Council, by Gouverneur Morris Jr., the son of United States founding father Gouverneur Morris. The waterfront was home to tenants such as stone works, furniture and piano factories. That commercial character is a still visible as nostalgic silhouettes of company names like Kelly’s Furniture and Baldwin are stamped across the facade of the old factories that house new tenants.

Some current commercial residents to call the nabe home are: FedEx, Waste Management company and The Bronx Brewery.

Others include recent tenants like NY Graphic Studio at 127 Lincoln Ave. Three-month resident Julie Velez, a 28-year-old self-employed clothing designer, said a new lease was just signed to build an “artsy” coffee shop at 39 Bruckner Blvd., once home to Bronx Hydro & Garden shop. “I feel safe,” Velez said of why she lives in Port Morris, adding, “the streets are quiet at night.”

The growing retail community is a welcome sign for locals.

“It’s a neighborhood in transition, everyone wants the neighborhood to be better,” said Michael Brady, owner of The Clock Cafe and Martini Bar at 112 Lincoln Ave. — the site of the renovated Estey Piano factory building.

Port Morris’ roughly 2,000 residents, which though predominantly Puerto Rican now hosts an influx of ethnicities, from white Americans to Mexicans, are benefiting from this change.

For example, the momentum has brought more lofts, commercial space and the South Bronx Charter School for International Cultures and the Arts’ new site at 133rd Street and Cypress Place, Brady said.

Even Sotheby’s has made a bid. It will soon occupy the old Kelly’s Furniture building at 20 Bruckner Blvd., Brady said. Their plans include a first floor art gallery, storage space for large-scale paintings and office space.

“Port Morris is still a vital commercial and industrial area,” Allison Jaffe, a real estate agent with Key Real Estate Services, said.

Prices in the area are also good, some residents said you can get a four-bedroom loft for $2,500 a month.

“I can get a comfortable property just one or two stops from Manhattan,” Jaffe confirmed. “Why wouldn't I do that?




6 Lexington Ave. local train stops on 138st at Third, Brook and Cypress avenues along the northern boundary; East 143rd Street-Saint Mary’s Street/ Southern Boulevard, and East 149th Street/ Southern Boulevard

Bx 15
Bx 17
Bx 33

The Mott Haven Library, 321 E. 140St. serves the Port Morris area.

Mott Haven Branch, 517 E. 139thSt. services the Port Morris area.

Port Morris, “The Gateway to the Bronx,” is covered by the 40th precinct in the South Bronx. Crime statistics compared to this time last year show a 22% decline in murders and an 23% decline in rapes. As reported in the NYPD’s CompStat Report, notwithstanding the fact that nine people were murdered last year, there was an 86% drop in murder compared to 1993. Also compared to 1993, burglaries are down 87%.


There is nice mix of food fare here including: Asian Fusion, Mexican and Ecuadorian.

Ceetay, 129 Alexander Ave. This trendy Asian fusion restaurant lies conspicuously around the corner from Bruckner Boulevard. It offers a personal sushi dining experience, allowing patrons to order straight from the chef. 718-618-7020.

El Habanero Mexican Cocina, 43 Bruckner Blvd. A cozy, modern restaurant that offers a variety including fish tacos and vegetarian quesadilla. The speaker system booms club music and Happy Hour offers $3 domestic beers and $4 internationals. 718-585-5855.

Wish 37, 37 Bruckner Blvd. This contemporary restaurant dishes out American and Ecuadorian cuisine, from turkey burgers to a tasty Ceviché cocktail. And coming soon, live comedy and guest DJ’s three nights a week. 917-645-5380.

The Clock Bar, 112 Lincoln Ave.
This elegant chandelier-lit hotspot is known as a local favorite with its tasty drinks, like The O.M.G., a margarita filled with watermelon tequila. Adorned in wood plus original red brick and concrete columns, it’s ideal to have a dinner party or celebrate your next birthday. 718-684-2338

Bruckner Bar and Grill, 1 Bruckner Blvd. Unfortunately, this popular spot is temporarily closed, flooded by 4 feet of water during Superstorm Sandy. But renovations are underway and sources told amNewYork that it is slated to reopen in about a month. 718-665-2001.

Club Miami, 26 Bruckner Blvd. This upscale Miami-themed club adorned with miniature palm trees and aqua colored seating promises guest performances and celebrity DJ’s. With VIP seating they’re styled to bring “South Beach to the South Bronx.” 917-688-1092.

Although some people say they shop along 138th Street, it’s just a 10-minute walk to Mott Haven. There are only a few stores sprinkled about Lincoln Avenue and Bruckner Boulevard. “The consumer base is probably the most important thing we can seek right now," resident and new member of Community Board 1 Michael Brady said.

Weber’s Closeout, 120 E. 144 St. If you don’t fancy a Macy’s shopping experience, this huge warehouse-style store has everything from shoes to shower curtains. Goods are purchased from major department stores all over the country and sold at closeout prices. 718-292-3605

Alexander Antiques + Fine Furniture, 126 Alexander Ave. This quaint antique store specializes in classic to modern furniture from 1900-1960, carrying an array of styles for any collector’s palette. They stock dressers, chandeliers, and even artifacts. All sales are final. 718-401-8629

Yara African Fabrics, 863 E. 141 St. They offer vibrant traditional African textiles plus tie-dye, wax print and batik. For six years they’ve created custom designed curtains, skirts and also tailor for traditional Mali weddings. Special orders are done in person. 646-925-2977

Pulaski Park, Bruckner Blvd. and Willis Ave.
This playground contains handball, basketball and volleyball courts, along with a spacious area for children. It is named after Poland-born Casimir Pulaski, a decorated military general who served in the Revolutionary War.

Antique Row, Bruckner Blvd. between Willis and Alexander avenues. Take a stroll and venture into one these vintage stores where you’ll everything from sconces to ceramics to antique furniture.



FreshDirect recently cleared another barrier in its legal battle with residents and community organizations to build a 500,000-square-foot distribution center on the site of the Harlem River Yards.

On Aug. 14, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. approved a generous tax abatement package of more than $89 million dollars to encourage the company to stay in New York.

According to freshdirectfacts.com, it will create 1,000 jobs within 10 years. It also plans to "transition to a 100 percent green transportation fleet within five years and has already purchased 10 electric vehicles," to mitigate the notoriously bad pollution in the area.

“We are excited to enter the next phase in making the Bronx our new home and look forward to continuing to work with the local community,” FreshDirect co-founder and CEO Jason Ackerman said in a statement.

But not everyone is thrilled with this development.

"Instead of amenities and resources like Chelsea gets in NYC, they're trying to dump truckloads of diesel trucks from FreshDirect," expressed Harry Bubbins, executive director of the South Bronx nonprofit Friends of Brook Park, which along with a coalition of more than 40 local groups including South Bronx Unite are fighting the development.

"We hope that we can get some kind of public monies to support and revitalize this important public space," Bubbins continued. “There are still a number of challenges and hurdles to go through.”

Friends of Brook Park plan to continue their “Boycott FreshDirect” campaign and their legal team has filed an appeal.

“We're not going to stop and this is not a done deal," Bubbins said.


Q&A with Miguel Gonzalez

Miguel Gonzalez, owner of Verde Flowers, has lived and worked in Port Morris for 11 years.

For the first six, before moving into his current space, he and his wife Vanessa operated their business out of his apartment. Since then, they moved across the street, renting space on Bruckner Boulevard, blossoming into a successful event flower shop.

What changes have you seen while you’ve been here?
It changed for the better, we’re creating jobs. All these restaurants coming in are reviving the place.

What do you like most about working in Port Morris?
Easy access to the city. We can get anywhere in the city in a minute.

What do you think the nabe will be like in five years?
In another five years [there will] be more restaurants and more young people — a young working crowd, blue collar.

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